This report focuses on a unique category of nonprofits, those classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as 501(c)(3)organizations. These organizations are further classified by the IRS as either public charities (sometimes called charitable nonprofits) or private foundations. They are exempt from federal income tax and are able to receive tax deductible contributions from individuals and businesses. These 501(c)(3) organizations must operate "exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, or educational purposes" and serve the common good. By law, 501(c)(3)s may not distribute profits to individuals or businesses. In 2010, the most recent data available, of the almost 10,000 nonprofit organizations in Maine registered with the IRS, 5,977 were classified as public charities and 523 were classified as private foundations. These numbers do not include the many churches or small associations and nonprofit corporations that don't register with the IRS.